Skip to main content

tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  April 16, 2015 11:00am-12:01pm PDT

11:00 am
drivers stopped, stepped out of their cars. they and others bowed their heads as the nation came to a two-minute standstill to remember the 6 billion jews killed during the holocaust and the end of world war ii. that's it for me. thanks for watching. the news continues next on cnn. all right. here we go. breaking news on cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. let's begin with what we're learning here. this american man has just been charged with propping up a terror organization. we're learning that this man is a 23-year-old from columbus ohio. reportedly traveled to syria where he went through terror training with the al nusra front. it was there he was told to turn to the states and carry out an act of terrorism. and we are now watching what could be one of the most dangerous isis advances since
11:01 am
militants began their siege in iraq. right now isis terrorists are in this fierce fight to seize a government complex in ramadi. and iraqi security forces are obviously desperately trying to stop them. just a reminder this is the capital of anbar province just 70 miles from baghdad. overnight, violent clashes ramped up between terrorists and iraqi forces who are begging for more help there on the ground. we are seeing a new crisis emerging as thousands of civilians are running, fleeing their homes, grabbing the children trying to escape the violence. joining me now, someone who's talked to these people who have left arwa damon, a cnn senior international correspondent. i want you to talk to us about ramadi ramadi. an official telling cnn, we have seen nothing to indicate ramadi will fall at this time. you're there. what do you see?
11:02 am
>> and that is coming from a u.s. official based in d.c. and it is in stark contrast to what we're hearing from people that are actually on the ground in ramadi. we've been talking to local officials, local commanders. throughout the night into today, isis was steadily advancing towards the city center launching an attack on the government complex that iraqi security forces were able to repel for the time being. then finally in the afternoon, those much-needed air strikes began targeting isis positions inside ramadi as well as on the outskirts of the city. but they need so many more troops to actually begin to push isis back. they are quite simply outmanned and outgunned. and this isis push into ramadi has sent upwards of 150,000 people fleeing. but it's not just ramadi that's really seeing and feeling the impact of the violence brought on by isis.
11:03 am
there's another small town on the way from baghdad to ramadi. it is also regularly, daily coming under fire by isis. and we were there to speak to some of the wounded individuals in the hospital. >> i was out in the garden and a rocket hit and the shrapnel sliced me she says tears falling from her eyes. i felt something fall out of me and i put it back in. a few moments later while we're in the another building isis attacks. >> just a massive explosion. we're not sure. it may have been a rocket or mortar of sorts. they think there's more? >> there's more. >> the impact shattered the glass. more explosions in the distance and then another that shakes the
11:04 am
building. they're clearing away for us to get to the cars. we are lucky. we are able to leave. and we don't have to make the impossible choice of living under bombardment and isis terror. and brooke it's not just about ultimately defeating isis. it's also about sparing families like the ones we met, like so many others in both iraq and syria, from going through that unbearable pain and suffering. >> it is so important that you're part of this conversation because you're there, you're seeing it you're talking to these people who are being forced to flee. arwa damon and crew thank you. what i'm referencing is defense secretary ash carter. he'll be speaking from the pentagon in less than a half hour from now. we'll take it live. had is huge. it's his first news conference since taking the job. now, to a possible cover-up in the case of the police killing in tulsa county oklahoma.
11:05 am
you heard about this? many people have questioned why a 73-year-old volunteer deputy was on the scene of this illegal weapons sting when he mistook his gun for his taser, killing eric harris. robert bates, who is now charged with second-degree manslaughter says he had the necessary training. now a report is raising some serious questions, saying not just that bates' records were doctored but that those who refused to go along with the doctoring were reassigned. when the sheriffs office held a news conference on the killing, tulsa world's enterprise editor asked officials about bates' training. take a look. >> -- failure to sign off on his training failure to approve his training. >> not to my knowledge, no. >> so there's never been any concerns raised about his training? >> not that i'm aware of no. he has been trained. >> he has 300 hours, or almost
11:06 am
300 hours of accredited training. state statute requires 25 hours of continuing education per year, so he's well in excess of what you would anticipate someone would have that was meeting minimum requirements. >> but no one has ever expressed concerns about his ability or training at the sheriffs office? >> never to me. >> okay. so that's one side of the story. let's go straight to tulsa world staff reporter dylan goforth. you're the one breaking this with sources telling you supervisors at the sheriffs office were told to falsify, to doctor bates' record. how so were they told to doctor them? >> the way it works is to reach the level of reserve deputy that he was you have to have something like 480 hours of field training with another officer. what we were told from pretty much day one was that he had not
11:07 am
gotten this training. i mean that takes a long time to accumulate that many hours. he had not gotten that training and the people who are over that reserve deputy program were told either, you know you need to sign these documents saying he received this training and when they didn't do it they were given lesser jobs or reassigned to other areas. >> so the records were doctored is what you're telling me, based upon what firearms training firearms certification, even though he didn't have the sufficient training. and those who said no went away. >> that's what we've been told. the shooting was april 2nd. we started hearing it on april 3rd. >> okay. the attorney for robert bates was on cnn. let me point this out. he was claiming your sources have the same lawyer as eric harris' family. this is the victim's family. and your sources are terminated employees from the sheriffs office. take a listen to that. >> so their sources are their
11:08 am
clients. one was terminated for stealing records from the sheriffs office years ago. one was terminated for improper conduct. he's since then committed a murder and is being held on murder charges. those are the sources. >> i'm not going to ask you to give up your sources, but i have to press you and have you respond to that. >> well i mean obviously i'm not going to say who our sources are, but i can say that we've talked to them before this happened. we've talked to them before. they've always been right, and we trust them. >> let me ask you a step further, because from what i read in your paper, is that the sheriffs deputy who would have signed off on all of this at the time with robert bates, he's gone. he's now with the secret service. before i tell you what the sheriffs office told us did any of this doctoring happen after the shooting? >> no this would have all been -- he said he became a reserve deputy in 2007. the sheriffs office said 2008.
11:09 am
it would have been during that process of receiving those training hours. >> just so i get this on the record here, the sheriffs office told cnn that the tulsa world reporter cannot validate his or her sources and claims anonymity, which leaves us skeptical the claims are unsubstantiated and deceptive. let me move on. the office also announced this morning it will conduct this internal review in the wake of what you're breaking here of this deputy reserve program, which is exactly what your paper -- we had chatted about this earlier this week -- is what your paper had called for them to do. can you just remind all of us of robert bates' history with law enforcement and some of the money he'd been given to that sheriff. >> yeah he -- you know when the sheriffs office held that first press conference they said he was a former police officer, when is true. we later found out he served one year from january 1964 to january 1965. following that he became -- >> and we still don't know why that was just one year. >> right. we don't know. the sheriffs office' attorney maybe tolded under sheriff that
11:10 am
bates told him he wasn't making money as a police officer. he probably chose correctly and became a wealthy insurance executive. he did that for a long time. then in 2007 or 2008 became a reserve deputy. >> okay. dylan, thank you. keep asking those questions. next, one congressman says it is quote/unquote open season on black men in america. hear his reasons and the backlash against him. we'll speak with him live. plus our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta has everyone talking today because he says legalize medical weed now, and he's not stopping there. sanjay will join me live. and investigators figure out how a mailman landed this gyrocopter yards from the united states capitol. we'll take you live to an airfield as the pilot will show us the capabilities of this aircraft. don't miss it. you're watching cnn.
11:11 am
11:12 am
(son) oh no... can you fix it, dad? yeah, i can fix that. (dad) i wanted a car that could handle anything. i fixed it! (dad) that's why i got a subaru legacy. (vo) symmetrical all-wheel drive plus 36 mpg. i gotta break more toys. (vo) the twenty-fifteen subaru legacy. it's not just a sedan. it's a subaru.
11:13 am
11:14 am
11:15 am
all right. got some breaking news. we talked a lot last fall about nfl star minnesota vikings player adrian peterson. he was suspended without pay since last november for violating the nfl personal conduct policy. it was an event involving abusive discipline of his child. remember he was found that he was using switches on his kid. so essentially, he was ultimately suspended until they looked into this further. now what we're learning is he will be as of tomorrow reinstated as an active nfl player and may participate in all scheduled activities with the vikings. there you go. adrian peterson back. now to pot at georgia, to the growing list of states where medical marijuana is now legal. the state's republican governor signed legislation today that will make cannabis oil legal for
11:16 am
patients with any one of eight chronic illnesses. it was this little girl hailey cox, who inspired the georgia law. she suffered from more than 200 seizures a day before her mother moved her to colorado for treatment. cnn's chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta is among the experts who say it is time for all states to legalize medical marijuana. he's exploring the subject in this incredible piece sunday night at 9:00 eastern. we're calling it "weed 3: the marijuana revolution." here's a preview. >> this bill that we're introducing seeks to right decades of wrong and end unnecessary marijuana laws. >> march, 2015. democrats cory booker and kirsten gillibrand along with republican rand paul have just proposed the most audacious marijuana legislation in our lifetime. if it passes it would create a
11:17 am
fundamental change in the way the united states views and treats marijuana. >> our drug laws in this country as a whole need a revolution of common sense and compassion. >> for starters it would do something scientists have been begging for, reschedule cannabis from schedule one to a much less restrictive schedule two controlled substance. >> once you make the class of drugs schedule two, you can research it and find out what are the medical impacts and when can you use it? that's what's necessary here. >> the bill would also mandate more farms to grow and research and allow greater access including to veterans who would for the fist time be able to get a prescription for medicinal marijuana from the va hospitals. >> let's stop the pot hypocrisy. we've had three presidents who have admitted to smoking marijuana. people in public office all throughout the senate have said hey, i've smoked marijuana recreationally. how much of a hypocrite do you
11:18 am
have to be to say i broke american laws using pot as a recreational thing and that i'm not going to support this idea that as a medicine for severely sick people that they shouldn't be able to access this drug. >> wow, dr. sanjay gupta. i'd heard about those interviews there on capitol hill with senators booker and gillibrand. you have that as part of this. then you have you causing a bit of a stir here with your cnn opinion piece saying yes, indeed, we should be legalizing medical marijuana. how did you get there? >> well i think it's a medicine brooke. i think it's something that can help people. i think it's a medicine that not only works, but it often works when nothing else has. i think there are people who have suffered needlessly because of the concerns about abuse, but in the crosshair, people have just been denied a very viable option for them to alleviate their pain and suffering.
11:19 am
it's easy to do nothing, as i wrote in that op-ed. it's easy to play it safe on this issue. once you two outgo out and look at the data much of it from countries outside the united states and you meet the patients it changed my mind. i think it's something that needs to be available to everybody. >> i know there has been such a dearth of data until recently. we talked about the lack of research. i have to ask you about skeptics. you have chris christie of new jersey making headlines because he's saying if he were ever ever elected president, you know no way, jose basically on this. i'm wondering, since he's so well known for his town halls, if you were in a town hall, sanjay, with governor christie and could ask him one question on this what would you ask? >> i would say if there was a medication that was available for someone who was suffering and we knew it would work for them would you not make it available, or would you keep it
11:20 am
illegal? that's what i would ask. i should say, by the way, when it comes to governor chris christie who was part of our most recent documentary before this one, he used to say the same thing about new jersey. he said no way, jose about new jersey. we're not going to allow new jersey to become colorado or california. he changed course on that a little bit. he allowed certain strains of marijuana to now be obtained in new jersey. so look i think the data is very compelling. i think when people start to look at it, you know -- and i fully admit, as you and i have talked about, that i didn't look closely enough the first time i looked at some of this data. when you look closer dig deeper travel around the world like i did, you see an important picture, an important picture emerges that could mean a law for people out there who don't have good treatments right now. >> i cannot wait to watch this. i've heard so much about it around the building. sanjay thank you so much. just a heads up it's "weed 3: the marijuana revolution" airing sunday night at 9:00 eastern and pacific here on cnn. just a few moments from now,
11:21 am
a huge moment at the pentagon. live pictures as we're watching and waiting to hear from secretary of defense ash carter. he'll be holding his first news conference since taking over the post from chuck hagel. obviously a number of tough questions will be expected on a number of issues ranging from isis to iran. perhaps russia, north korea et cetera. we'll bring that to you live. he'll be sitting with martin dempsey. but next one congressman says it is quote/unquote open season on black men in america. hear his reasons and the back lash. we'll talk to him live next. ve had moderate to severe plaque psoriasis most my life. but that hasn't stopped me from modeling. my doctor told me about stelara®. it helps keep my skin clearer. with only 4 doses a year after 2 starter doses... ... stelara® helps me be in season. stelara® may lower your ability to fight infections and increase your risk of infections. some serious infections require hospitalization. before starting stelara®... ...your doctor should test for tuberculosis. stelara® may increase your risk of cancer. always tell your doctor if you have any sign of infection, have had cancer,
11:22 am
or if you develop any new skin growths. do not take stelara® if you are allergic to stelara® or any of its ingredients. alert your doctor of new or worsening problems including headaches, seizures, confusion and vision problems- these may be signs of a rare, potentially fatal brain condition. serious allergic reactions can occur. tell your doctor if you or anyone in your house needs or has recently received a vaccine. in a medical study most stelara® patients saw at least 75% clearer skin... ...and the majority were rated as cleared or minimal at 12 weeks. stelara® helps keep my skin clearer. ask your doctor about stelara®. ♪ ♪ ♪
11:23 am
making a fist something we do to show resolve. to defend ourselves. to declare victory. so cvs health provides expert support and vital medicines. make a fist for me. at our infusion centers or in patients homes. we help them fight the good fight. cvs health, because health is everything.
11:24 am
11:25 am
in just 11 days two new videos have surfaced that show deadly police shootings of unarmed black men, walter scott in south carolina eric harris in oklahoma. these, of course come in the wake of the police killings of michael brown and eric garner. now protesters across the
11:26 am
country have taken to the streets again demanding an end to police brutality as well as action from lawmakers. and there's a congressman from georgia who's really helped lead that chorus. take a listen. >> it feels like open season on black men in america, and i'm outraged. in fact all americans are at risk when bad actors in law enforcement use their guns instead of their heads. despite bipartisan nationwide calls for action and despite my bills to reform the broken grand jury process, hold police accountable, and end militarization and despite my colleague's bills to encourage body cameras, this congress does nothing. >> there he was on the floor. here he is live. i have congressman hank johnson joining me from washington. congressman, welcome. nice to have you on. >> nice to be here brooke. >> i think first of all, something that a lot of people don't know is there's actually no federal database that tracks
11:27 am
how many people are killed by police. so the closest thing we have is this nonprofit that's been collecting data through police reports and citizen tips if i may, let me run through some numbers. in 2014 more than 1100 people were killed by police 414 were white, 233 were african-american and just to be totally clear, this database actually doesn't account for guilt or innocence or armed or unarmed. we heard you on the floor saying this is quote, open season on black men, a hunting term. congressman, is it not dangerous to use that kind of language? >> well i said that it felt like it was open season and it really does. i think if you are a black male and you've grown up in the inner cities as i have and you have matriculated to this point in life i think most black males feel the same way. i just simply expressed a sentiment that is very common.
11:28 am
but i would take issue with those statistics that you mentioned. every time i see statistics from one source or the other, it's always a different number in terms of how many police killings have occurred in a given year. >> it's true. that's because there are no actual hard numbers. i've even tried looking at the cdc numbers. those are tough as well. i agree with you there. that needs to change. but back to your point on how this is open season here's the thing. what's implied in that what you're not saying but implying is that broad strokes on all police are the hunters out to kill. is that really fair? >> well yeah i think it's a fair depiction of what's happening in society today. we find an overabundance -- and we have video evidence of black males who are being shot and killed by police officers. now, that doesn't include the numbers who are being wounded, nor does it include the people who tasers are being used upon
11:29 am
which may or may not be necessary in a given situation. so what we have is we're seeing black males. we don't see any other demographic being inordinately singled out for this kind of misconduct. >> i was talking to a man just the other night on our 10:00 show who is not african-american who's the man who was beaten and tased in the desert after eluding police and running and jumping on a horse. so he was not african-american and we have absolutely run that video here at cnn. here's my next question though. and i'm with you. i aagree that for example, the case involving walter scott was absolutely outrageous. we've covered enough of these to see, congressman, that a number of these suspects are resisting arrest or are fleeing police. >> well nobody deserves to die for committing or attempting to
11:30 am
commit a misdemeanor or some offense that does not place in jeopardy the life of a police officer. and we've just simply had too many episodes where people are quick to pull the trigger and ask questions later. that's the problem that we have in this country, and it always seems to be the black male who is according to statistics four times more likely to die in police custody than any other demographic. >> why do you think, though -- i mean you're from the south. you have probably lived discrimination at some point in time. i'm just wondering if is the reason why you say this open season, we're seeing more of this is simply because people are more armed with cameras and dash cams and body cams. >> well, you know i said it feels like it's open season and said that because i know this
11:31 am
kind of misconduct has been occurring as long as anyone can remember. the problem is or the issue is we're now seeing it live or seeing it on video now. it is causeing more people to come forward with their experiences, and it is causing more news outlets to cover critically these claims that police always make which is that the suspect tried to reach for my weapon i was placed in fear of imminent bodily harm so i fired in self-defense or in defense of others. then you turn and look at it -- >> i hear you, congressman. i don't entirely disagree but it's tough. i know a lot of wonderful members of law enforcement. to paint this in broad strokes, that police then would be doing the hunting just isn't fair. >> and i don't want to impugn the professionalism of every police officer out there, but i will say that there's a culture
11:32 am
in law enforcement that you can see a police officer engage in some misconduct and then you don't tell anybody about it. and you cover it up. so those are the kinds of things we need to root out of the system. all police officers are not bad. i have a lot of friends who are in law enforcement, and it hurts me to have to say that yes, law enforcement is a problem, and there's a problem that law enforcement as a whole has caused and law enforcement needs to be a part of the process of cleaning it up. >> okay. >> so if the shoe fits you got to wear it. >> congressman hank johnson, democratic congressman from georgia, thank you very much. >> thank you. got to move on because big news happening here just down the street in the pentagon. i've got our chief national security correspondent standing
11:33 am
by. we're watching and waiting for the defense secretary, for ash carter's very first news conference. jim, let me talk to you, as you can help tee up this whole thing. this is huge. he'll be sitting with joint chief martin dempsey, talking presumably isis iran yemen, russia. what are you expecting? >> the list starts there, brooke. this is a busy time. it's a busy day for the pentagon. today you have an airfield in southeastern yemen falling to aqap yemen a continuing problem. you have the city of ramadi in western iraq the largest city in anbar province n danger of falling. and a day when you look at ukraine, the russian president denying there are russian troops on the ground in eastern ukraine more than a year after russia took the territory of crimea which we barely hear about anymore as russian troops continue to advance on eastern ukraine. these are the daily elements on the agenda of the u.s. defense secretary.
11:34 am
that's just a sample of questions he'll be facing today. but those are the crises the department faces today. >> i know as we watch and wait -- stay with me jim. i know just yesterday, secretary carter met with the iraqi defense minister at the pentagon. can you tell me what they discussed? >> well first of all, the iraqi prime minister wants more help. you're seeing that on the ground even in ramadi right now. we're hearing from officials inside the city who have been calling for more air strikes, more reinforcements from the iraqi army who's been unable to give the help the units inside the city need. this is a consistent problem. a big question for the defense secretary is what does this tell us about the capabilities of iraqi security forces nearly a year after isis swept into the country to take back territory from isis. to this point, the achievement has been in general holding back more territory from being gained by isis although we may see that change in ramadi. they had the victory in tikrit just a couple weeks ago.
11:35 am
but what does it say about their capability that they can still be losing ground in places. this is a major issue. iraqis asking for more help. of course from the u.s. side the u.s. asking really demanding, that iraq make this a more integrated force, particularly in anbar. this is the sunni-dominated part of the country. they bristle when you have shiite-led militias doing the bulk of the heavy lifting. that drives those sunni tribes on to the side of isis. these are the continuing challenges there. so you have asks in both directions. that's another issue the secretary is going to have to face tough questions on today. >> you mentioned ramadi. we're going to be talking to arwa damon, as well who's going to be listening to secretary carter. she was seeing people fleeing ramadi all these kids and their parents terrified, obviously, of these terrorists taking over their town. jim, stay with me. we're going to try to sneak a quick break in as we're waiting for the first news conference from the defense secretary ash carter. back in 90 seconds. ♪
11:36 am
♪ live a full life. the lexus ct hybrid with an epa estimated 42 mpg. the further you go the more interesting it gets. this is the pursuit of perfection.
11:37 am
all right. live pictures from the pentagon. still see some empty seats. we'll watch and wait for the first news conference from secretary of defense ash carter momentarily. first, the fight against isis goes from the sunny beaches of australia to the battlefields of syria. we have just learned a talented australian model and deejay has been killed while fighting you should the black flag of isis. cnn's amy laport has more on the story of this young man who's become the latest example of the
11:38 am
militant group's expanding lure of young people around the globe. >> his future looked bright but somewhere along the way, this 25-year-old showchose a life on the battlefield over a life on the cat walk. the former deejay and model from melbourne is the latest australian believed to have been killed fighting alongside isis militants. his parents learning of their son's death via a text message and a phone call. they told australian media that he left his home last year telling his parents he was going camping, when in fact he travelled to fallujah iraq where he's believed to have served with isis as a medic, a cook and sometimes a machine gunner a far cry from the life he lived in australia as a popular deejay/model.
11:39 am
>> he was part of a plan. it was all obviously thrown off track when he joined isis and we had to part ways. it was quite a tearful and heart-wrenching moment for everyone involved. >> the australian government said it can't confirm his death, but the prime minister used it as a warning for would-be jihadists. >> i have a very simple message to anyone who might be thinking of going overseas to join these terrorist groups. don't, don't. they are death cults. and it's just as likely to be your death. >> since the bloody rise of isis jamar joined some 20 other australians who have been killed in the conflict. but the face of some 90 more australians still out there on the battlefield remains unclear. amy laport cnn, atlanta. >> all right amy.
11:40 am
thank you. again, waiting from this first news conference from secretary of defense ash carter. meantime as investigators figure out how this mailman landed this gyrocopter yards from the capitol yesterday, we'll take you live to an airfield and the pilot will show us the capabilities of this manned aircraft. plus the man who landed this at the capitol is now in court. here we go to the pentagon. >> my first priority is to help
11:41 am
the president make the best possible national security decisions and then to implement those decisions. my second priority is to ensure the strength and health of our wonderful personnel around the world. and my third is about the future of our force, our people and our technology and as i say, to think outside our five-sided box here. to achieve those priorities i've traveled to afghanistan and kuwait to meet with american personnel working on two important missions there, worked with congress to secure the resources we need to protect the country and continue to build the force of the future and get stability in the defense budget. i've spoken with our partners in the state department and other agencies about working together in new ways and on new endeavors. and visited with allies and partners both here in washington and just last week in the asia pacific. i met with our men and women in
11:42 am
uniform around the country and abroad to say thank you and to make sure that all of our people past present, and future are treated with dignity and respect. the work continued this week. for example, we had productive discussions with the iraqi prime minister and the iraqi defense minister about our partnership and the real progress we're making in the campaign against isil. i was up front in our meetings about how a lasting victory over isil requires inclusive governance in baghdad and respect for local populations in all areas liberated from isil control. and it'll continue next week. on wednesday i'm going to speak with mid shipment in washington about sexual assault prevention and response. then i'm going to meet with battalion and brigade level
11:43 am
first responders to get their perspective on preventing sexual assault and on combatting retaliation. next week i'll travel to california to silicon valley deliver a lecture at stanford university on the future of technology innovation and cyber security. and then i'll meet with some technology executives out there to discuss how we can work together better. much more to say, but i'm hope to questions on any topics whatsoever that you may have. before i do that let me just tell you how much i appreciate what you do every day, the role you play in our society and the role you play in this building. i've worked in the pentagon for many years, and we all really count on you to explain to our citizens and the world what we're doing to defend our
11:44 am
country. on occasion, i understand hold us to account. but i know that it's all with the best of intentions. i thank you. with that let me turn things over to marty, and we'll answer your questions. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i'll add a point of two of emphasis coming out of our meeting yesterday with prime minister abadi. the government of iraq has made gains and trends are moving in the right direction. there remains a lot of hard work in integrating their militias under state command and control as iraq continues to prepare its forces to sustain momentum against isil. the efforts of prime minister abadi during the tikrit offensive are a good step. we'll continue to consult with iraq's leadership as they plan and conduct their operations. i'm encouraged by the commitment of the coalition. you may know that there's been an addition of 300 australian troops and 100 new zealand troops to the training mission, and that will certainly
11:45 am
contribute to the outcomes we all seek. they join a notable list of international partners who are building partnership capacity mission, including the united kingdom, spain, germany, italy, and of course the united states. around the globe, i can tell you our men and women in uniform are focused and doing what the nation needs them to do. the security environment remains as dynamic as it's ever been. we remain focused on ensuring our troops have the leadership the training and the resources to accomplish the tasks we ask of them. with that, i too, am happy to answer your questions. >> i'll call on reporters. we'll start with bob. >> thank you. mr. secretary, question for each of you. on yemen, al qaeda forces have captured a major airport, a sea port and an oil terminal today. i'm wondering if you think the focus on the houthi rebels has had the unintended consequence
11:46 am
of presenting new opportunities for al qaeda in yemen. does that give you any pause about the wisdom of the saudi air campaign and the u.s. support for that? >> well, i've -- >> also a question for general dempsey as well. you were talking about iraq. today there's been reports that the isil forces have made important advances on ramadi having already captured apparently some smaller places around ramadi. i'm wondering whether you feel that ramadi is in danger of falling, and what does it say about the way ahead, the difficulty of the way ahead for the iraqi forces? >> thanks bob. so yemen first. i've seen reports to that effect also. what that suggests is that yes, aqap provides opportunity in the environment created by the turmoil in yemen. aqap just to remind you, is a
11:47 am
branch of al qaeda that's shown a particular determination to attack us on our homeland and is therefore of serious concern to us. we continue to watch them and take action. it's obvious it's easier to do our counterterrorism operations against aqap when there's a settled government in yemen. there's not that now. we for that reason and other reasons, hope there will be and are trying to work with others in that direction, but in the meantime we need to and do through other means protect ourselves against aqap because they are dangerous and there are other things we can do to act against them and we are. >> on iraq let me make a distinction between the military
11:48 am
offensive that's going up north of baghdad, up into tikrit. so the offensive north of baghdad has been deliberate, measured steady progress. anbar has always been kind of pockets of isf, iraqi security force, and pockets of isil. so it's been a much more dynamic back and forth. this latest attack on ramadi is yet another indication that what the government of iraq really needs to do is connect these inkblots if you will, of their legitimate security forces so that there isn't this constant back and forth. that was the topic of our conversation with prime minister abadi yesterday. it is his intent to focus now on anbar province. >> is that why they need additional u.s. help? >> it's part of the reason.
11:49 am
we didn't talk about specifying any particular kind of support to the anbar offensive but rather the concept of an anbar offensive while maintaining pressure north of baghdad as well. >> next question to jim schuto of cnn. >> just a brief follow on yemen, and i want to ask you about ukraine. in light of the fact aqap consistently described by u.s. counterterror officials as the principal principal, most severe threat with u.s. military assets out of there, the withdrawal of diplomats, a great number of u.s. intelligence resources, i wonder if you could articulate for the american people how much greater is the aqap threat to americans today due to aqap's advance, gaining territory there, and due to the loss of american assets on the ground there, target them track them
11:50 am
et cetera. >> as the i said our efforts have to change their character but remain steady in their intensity. this is a group that as you indicated and as i indicated earlier, does show determination to not only fight on the ground in yemen, which is what you referred to but also strike at the united states. it's easier for us to operate against a group like that if we have the cooperation of a stable government as was the case in the past. but if we don't have a stable government, as is the case in the current circumstance, we have to use other means to protect ourselves, and that's what we're doing. >> but how do those other means compensate without putting u.s. special forces on the ground posts in the capital, cooperation with the existing government. it's hard i imagine, for people at home to imagine there's the same control and response.
11:51 am
>> it's easier if there's a government with which we can cooperate in kpis tansexistence. we're not going to find that all the time in all places in the world. that's why we have counterterrorism capabilities that don't depend on that and we resort to them and need them and use them in a circumstance like this where we need to protect ourselves anyway. >> if i could just follow on ukraine. it's more than a year since russia took crimea and of course you have the action following in eastern ukraine and fighting flaring up despite the attempt of the cease-fire. i took note today that the russian president vladimir putin again claimed there are no russian troops on the ground in eastern ukraine, when the intelligence is to the contrary. i just wonder how you can move the ball forward when the adversary in this case won't even grant the facts on the ground. i just wonder as you come into this job, what evidence you have seen that the administration policy of gradually raising the economic costs on russia is having any effect whatsoever on
11:52 am
the ground in ukraine. >> okay. well you're right, or as you suggest, the principal point of pressure the united states has been applying to russia for some time now in account of the fact that russia is and we know is participating in fomenting trouble in eastern ukraine is the economic pressure. of course that's not just ours jim. in particular, i guess it's important to note it's not especially ours. it's especially european sanctions because they have the most economic leverage over russia. i'm not an economist, but i understand that those sanctions are having an effect on russia along with plumtsmeting oil prices. those are the two factors.
11:53 am
so the first line of pressure for us is economic and political. and we're doing that. with respect to the question of russia's role in there, i think we have abundant evidence of that. the international community has abundant evidence of that. the europeans have evidence that convinces them to take the strong economic steps that they have. and my understanding is and my observation is that this is having a real effect on the russian economy and at some point the russian people are going to ask themselves whether these kinds of adventures are worth the price. >> thank you, jim. we'll try jamie. >> mr. secretary, good to see you again. it's been a few years. i noted at your ceremonial swearing in a while back that former secretary perry noted your joint efforts in attempting to denuclearize as you termed it north korea and that those
11:54 am
efforts failed. my question to you is what lessons from that experience do you think would apply to the current situation with iran? and mr. chairman if i may follow on this tradition of asking each of you a question i'm just also curious with iran apparently now in line to get these advanced air defense systems from russia does that effectively take the military option off the table at some point in the future or at the very least make it enormously more complicated? >> with respect to the nuclear weapons situation in ooish riran a couple of things. first, those negotiations that are being conducted by us and our p5+1 partners with the iranians have the objective of arresting the iranian nuclear
11:55 am
program, and obviously that process isn't complete yet. as the president has indicated, he's looking for a good deal and there's no deal yet sewn up. so it's going to take some time for secretary kerry and the others who are negotiating that to see what kind of agreement they're able to reach with the iranians. but we've made it clear what is necessary to satisfy us that the agreement is a good agreement from our point of view. for me here our role is not to conduct those negotiations but two other things. the first is to make sure that we have as the president says other options on the table.
11:56 am
that's something we take very seriously here and we do have other options on the table. and the second thing is to continue to play a stabilizing role in the region as a whole with all of our friends and allies of which we have many there and continue to strengthen their capabilities and their confidence. so those are our two jobs here in the department of defense. i'm very attentive to then as is chairman dempsey and everybody else. >> and to your question about the introduction of the s-300, the derivative they export the air defense system. we've known about the potential for that system to be sold to iran for several years and have accounted for it in all of our planning. >> wouldn't it present a military obstacle if there was a need in the future to conduct a strike? >> the military option i owe the president to both encourage the diplomatic solution and if the
11:57 am
diplomacy fails to ensure that iran doesn't achieve a nuclear weapon is intact. >> thank you. for both of you, first with general dempsey, i wanted to ask you about yemen. there's wide agreement that the houthis are backed financially by iran but the saudis seem to take it further and say that the houthis are not only supported by iran but are controlled by iran. sort of like hezbollah in lebanon. do you agree with that that the houthis are proxy or a tool of iranian power? and also so far the houthis and al qaeda both seem to be gaining territory during the saudi air strikes. do the saudis have anyone on the ground on their side in yemen to fight as their proxy? and for secretary carter post-tikrit, what role do you expect the shia militias to play in iraq in the u.s.-supported
11:58 am
iraqi offensive? >> so to the question about the degree of control that iran exerts over the houthis. if you look back at the history of their relationship they have not exerted control in the same way that they exert control over lebanese hezbollah, for example. but they are a source of resources for the houthis. and the houthi leader himself is -- you know considers himself to be one of the heirs of the prophet. and the sect of shia islam from which the houthis draw their inspiration has an aspiration to restore that empire which existed centuries ago that included all of yemen and parts of southern saudi arabia. so i don't see them as having the same kind of relationship as lebanese hezbollah has with iran but they clearly have a relationship with them. to that extent the saudis are
11:59 am
right to be concerned. >> and on the second question? >> yeah i forget what it was. >> do the saudis have anybody on the ground to fight as their proxy? >> yeah i won't speak to who's on the ground doing what from any of the coalition partners but i will tell you that general lloyd austin our central commander was in ryad today for a day-long consultation with the saudi leadership on their campaign plan. >> so with respect to shiite militias in iraq which was your question to me this is a subject that we discussed with the prime minister and the defense minister of iraq who are here this week. to go back to the important point there with which they
12:00 pm
agreed it's important that all forces acting against isis in iraq be under the control of the central iraqi government. that's the principle that we adhere to. that's the principle that the prime minister has. therefore, to get to your point about shiite militias there are shiite militias that have that characteristic characteristic and there are those that don't. the prime minister made it quite clear that the latter those not under his command and control, were not welcome there, would not participate in their operations and would not be supported. they certainly won't be supported by us. we support forces that are under the command and control of the iraqi government irrespective of their sectarian makeup which is the whole poin